Print version ISSN 0185-3325
MOO ESTRELLA, Jesús Antonio et al. Sleep architecture and executive functions in children with depression. Salud Ment [online]. 2011, vol.34, n.5, pp. 451-457. ISSN 0185-3325.
Sleep disturbance is a common complaint in depression. However, objective data in relation to the architecture of sleep associated with depression in childhood have been inconsistent. The objective measurement of sleepiness and executive functions is little known in depressive children. The objective of this study was to determine the differences in the sleep architecture, daytime sleepiness and executive functions in children with and without depression. Method The participants were 20 children with an average of 10.5 (SD=1.5) years old; nine were girls. Ten met the diagnostic criteria for major depression and ten were control. There were no differences by sex and age between groups with and without depression (p>.05). The instruments were: Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Present and Lifetime version (K-SADS-PL), the Children Depression Inventory, and the Battery of Executive Frontal Functions. Also, there were two consecutive nights of polysomnographic recording and Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Results No differences were found in the architecture of sleep, sleep efficiency was greater than 90% in both groups and the indexes of initiation and sleep maintenance did not show statistically significant differences. There were no differences in daytime sleepiness, sleep onset latency in the MSLT was 22.8 (SD=6.4) minutes for the group with depression and 23.7 (SD=4.1) for the control. The executive functions showed differences in tasks involving: visual-motor and impulse control, working memory and identification of the risk-benefit ratio. Conclusions The results suggest that prefrontal structures are more vulnerable to depression than the structures that regulate the circadian and homeostatic sleep.
Keywords : Sleep architecture; daytime sleepiness; executive functions; depression; children.